Spoiler Free Review: Scorpica by G.R. Macallister

Title: Scorpica

Author: G.R. Macallister

Pub. Date: February 22nd 2022

Genre: Fantasy/LGBTQIA+

Format: eARC

Publisher: Saga Press

Pages: 448

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Characters: 8/10   Atmosphere: 10/10  Writing Style: 9/10  Plot: 7/10  Intrigue: 0/10  Logic/Relationships: 10/10  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 51/7.2 =  ☆☆ 4 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

☆☆ 𝐀𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐦𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝, 𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐥𝐲 𝐚 𝐡𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐧. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐝𝐬, 𝐟𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧𝐬. ☆☆╮

Five Queendoms have ruled over the land in peace for five hundred years until the Drought of Girls arrives. When girls who are the warriors, healers, magic wielders, and scribes in this world cease being born, the Queendoms turn against one another. In a land of many religions, prayers go up to their different Gods in hopes of ending this curse. Told in multi-POV mainly from the perspectives of the Queen of Arca & Scorpica, this is the start to what has been described as the female Game of Thrones. We have a matriarchal society where men have lesser magic if any all, theirs is more for cosmetic purposes since their role in society is mostly as stay at home husbands. They do not have the right to vote or hold any office, they’re tasked with rearing children in this world where polygamy is the norm. The exception being the land of Scorpica where men are not allowed entry and women warriors travel out of their lands every five years to procreate. Male born babies are sold off and female babies are welcomed as future warriors. When the Drought of Girls begins, all Queendoms look to one another for the source of this curse. Power plays are set into motion by each queen to protect their positions of power at any and all costs. 

This is the type of Fantasy that will satisfy the reader who enjoys thoroughly fleshed out world building, political machinations, and slow but steady storytelling that feels like it’s all leading up to something greater. Although quite dense at times with a TON of characters, the short chapters really make it easier to follow the many story lines at once. I really enjoyed learning of the different lands and their Queendoms because each has it’s own specialty they’re known for sort of like the seven kingdoms of Westeros (Game of Thrones). We get to spend some time learning of the warriors in Scorpica, Scribes in the Bastion, deal makers/traders in Paxim, and Sorcerers in Arca. Some lands were explored more than others but I was satisfied with the two we spent the most time in (Scorpica & Arca) since they wield the most power through physical and magical strengths. A good majority of the cast of characters are queer and most relationships are Polyamorous. I love a good set of supporting side characters especially when they’re sort of found family. We get that here in a group of misfits/thieves we meet on the journey of one of the main characters we follow. I’m hoping to meet these characters on the page again after getting fully invested in their lives. This was definitely a foundation setting book to what has the potential to be an EPIC fantasy. My guess is that the sequel will hit the ground running and swords will be clashing. For this to be the first fully matriarchal/feminist Fantasy I’ve read…MORE please? haha! this hit the spot 🙌🏽


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Spoiler Free Review: Black Sun (Between Earth & Sky #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

Title: Black Sun (Between Earth & Sky #1)

Author: Rebecca Roanhorse

Pub. Date: October 13th 2020

Genre: High Fantasy

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Saga Press

Pages: 454 pages

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🖤ALC & Galley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review🖤

Set in a world inspired by the Pre-Colombian Americas, we follow the Sky Made Clans who are prepping for Winter Solstice. This Winter Solstice happens to coincide with a solar eclipse which is considered a rare celestial event. For the Sun Priest, this is an opportunity to try and restore the faith by upholding traditions in Tova. This is no easy task with brewing animosity stemming from the Night of Knives, a night where the Priesthood slaughtered many people from the Carrion Crows Clan. This has never been forgotten and many believe there to be rebel groups waiting for their time to seek retribution.  Naranpa, our controversially appointed Sun Priest seeks to bridge the gap between the Priesthood and the clans. Naranpa who comes from very humble beginnings and has since turned her back on family, is very disconnected from the clans. She will find that she is a target despite not having bloodied her hands. Finding someone she can trust will seem nearly impossible in her present circle and in her past.

We also follow  the perspective of Xiala, a Pansexual Teek Captain who has faced exile and is recruited by a nobleman to transport a blind passenger by the name of Serapio. This is to be done within a very short and what sounds like an unreasonable amount of time. Xiala was specifically sought out for her Teek abilities which are similar to that of a siren. As a daughter of the Sea, Xiala is able to ask her mother for help with navigating treacherous weather and rough sails. Serapio is mysterious and observant with a single objective…to arrive in Cuecola in time for the Solstice. The bearer of a prophecy, Serapio is able to inhabit the bodies of crows who serve as his eyes. His own were stitched shut by his mother who gave him instructions and set him on the path to fulfill the prophecy. Much isn’t divulged about the prophecy until we reach the end of this journey. All of these characters paths converge in what is a solid foundation for an epic story.

This is my very first read from Rebecca Roanhorse but I can clearly see why this author is beloved. This is high fantasy that delivers on inclusivity, political intrigue, rich culture and multi-layered world building topped off with an adventure at sea. I have NEVER read anything from the Fantasy genre that I can say is as beautifully queer and features what for the most part is a matriarchal society. Naranpa, Xiala, and Serapio are all multi-faceted characters that each display at one time or another a level of moral ambiguity. There are no heroes in this story however if you love a good tale of uprisings and a settling of scores, then this is absolutely one worth giving a go. This world practically jumps off the page both during the travel at sea and on land…sometimes even in air. Roanhorse has gifted us these giant crows that train to fly with a specific clan, a deep respect between humans and these birds is evident. I was left craving more story from the Carrion Crow Clan and some of the key characters we meet in the second act. The pacing of the story is the only thing that docked it a star on my end since there were times I found myself wanting to be with another POV than the present chapter. All in all, a solid foundation for this high stakes Fantasy that I personally look forward to continuing on with!

CW: Suicide, death of a parent, child abuse, violence, extreme body part modification, gore, ritualized body mutilation


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